Listening to Native teachers

Most of our conversations take place between fairly like minded educators who live and breathe web 2.0. Mentions of those who do not get it, are only done with 3rd party references. “So and so said”….”I heard a conversation in the staff room”…that sort of thing.

Wes Fryer did a workshop the other day on podcasting with a number of teachers new to the read/write web. He had them post some questions and comments on a blog he created for the session. I read quickly through some of the comments and they most definitely are representative of a great number of our teachers. I’m sure Wes responded to many of their concerns but I thought I’d also chime in with some responses. Here goes:

How does blogging relate to the skills students need to know for TAKS?

There hasn’t been much research on the topic but certainly blogging isn’t designed to specifically improve test scores. It’s designed to connect learners and provide an audience and purpose for writing and communicating ideas.

How easy is it to moderate profanity that continuously happens?

How easy is it to moderate profanity that continuously happens in the playground?

Is there documented evidence that

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Are you your student’s pet?

These are the future, my friends. They’re here and living among us. They’re not very interested in us, and I’m not sure I blame them. The best we can hope for is that one day they may keep us as pets.

This article via David Warlick via Ewan is dealing more with the irrelevance of today’s newspapers but substitute the word newspaper for school and editor to teacher and it’s pretty telling.

They buy music from the iTunes store – but continue to download tracks illicitly as well. They use BitTorrent to get US editions of Lost. They think ‘Google’ is a synonym for ‘research’ and regard it as quite normal to maintain and read blogs (55 million as of last night), use Skype to talk to their mates and upload photos to Flickr. Some even write entries on Wikipedia. And they know how to use iMovie or Adobe Premiere to edit videos and upload them to YouTube.

Now look round the average British newsroom (staff room). How many hacks have a Flickr account or a MySpace profile? How many sub-editors (teachers) have ever uploaded a video to YouTube? How many editors (teachers) have used BitTorrent? (How many know what

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Will Richardson has a bad day

Will Richardson is usually is a pretty upbeat guy. But this post might make you think otherwise. He’s a bit frustrated as we all are at times. It may have been a bad day. The Monday morning quarterback in me would guess it had something to do with the encounter with a teacher he mentions later in the post. Whatever the reason, he makes some great points:

there are thousands of teachers, tens of thousands in fact, who are already using the tools with their students. I see new examples every day. But I’m still bothered by the fact that very, very rarely do I see new pedagogies to go along with them that prepare students for the creation of their own learning networks.

That’s why I spend time showing cupboards. But teachers want to get their hands on these tools for the same reason they want to go to a conference and find that one thing they can implement in their classroom tomorrow. When teachers see blogs and think it would be a great way to post my newsletter, I’ll say, “Yes, you can do that but that’s not really what blogs can do“. It’s like using … Read the rest

Seeing Progress

I posted about my blogging and administrators last week and already small but significant ripples are showing.

We did have one principal who started to blog. I’ve had some conversations with him and promoted his blog during my talk. This is a copy of the email sent out by one of our superintendents.

Hi everyone, I am forwarding an e-mail to you (all school administrators) that I received from Alan Stange. It contains a link to a blog he has developed for Central Butte School. He discussed it with the group during Dean’s presentation at the last Administrators’ forum. Notice how quickly Alan is able to get information out to the community. The information regarding criminal record checks was just sent out to schools this morning.

Included below are some of Alan’s comments:

These weblogs take the mystery out of all the web page mumbo jumbo. If I want to add something simple I just email the information to the blog like I am emailing this to you. If I want more complicated formatting or a picture I seem to have to sign into the blog and post it there. We had a web page and lost it when

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Podcast 20…Blogging with Administrators

I spoke to about 80 school based and senior administrators last week about blogging. I only recorded the first 12 minutes but the link to the slides has all the slides.

The focus of my talk was on creating connections. Evidence that my talk resonated was the fact that after I invited them to begin reading conversations using Bloglines, over 30 of them requested invites. Now like anything, I’m not sure all will make this part of their routine but even if 10 begin reading the conversations that are taking place, it’s going to make a difference.

The audio ends at slide 22 of 44.… Read the rest